ICON Engineering Announces Transition

ICON Engineering Inc., a leading Colorado based civil engineering firm, is pleased to announce the completion of a five-year phased management transition. Doug Williams, PE has been elected to the position of President, having previously served as Vice-President. Penn Gildersleeve, PE, Past President and Chief Executive Officer since 1997, will reduce his direct day-to-day involvement with ICON as Principal Emeritus.

Craig Jacobson, PE, CFM and Troy Carmann, PE, CFM are now full Principals and members of the Board of Directors. In addition to Mr. Williams, new officers include: Mathew Ursetta, PE, Vice President; Craig Jacobson, Treasurer; and Troy Carmann, Secretary. ICON further announces the hiring of Carole Ann Lombardo as Marketing Manager.

Penn, Doug and Matt founded ICON in 1997. Prior to that, the three worked together for many years managing the former Denver office of Greenhorne & O’Mara, which became the nucleus for ICON. Both Craig and Troy have been with ICON for over 17 years.


Principal Emeritus Penn Gildersleeve

During his 42-year career as a consulting engineer, Penn championed the growth of three different Denver area engineering firms, primarily in the planning, design and management of public sector infrastructure with a particular emphasis on drainage and flood control. In addition to his responsibilities with ICON, he has chaired boards of several public and private organizations.

Penn looks forward to being able to devote more time to his other passions. He obtained a certification in paleontology from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, a field in which he worked extensively prior to becoming an engineer. He will continue to assist communities faced with natural disasters as a member of an Early Response Team associated with UMCOR, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to alleviating human suffering around the globe. Past assignments for Penn have included work on relief for areas damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the devastating earthquake in Haiti and flooding on the Yukon River in Alaska as well as numerous communities throughout Colorado. Penn looks forward to spending more quality time with his wife, children and three grandchildren.

According to Penn,

The transition forms a perfect trifecta of allowing me to work in the past with paleontology, help communities with current emergencies, and still assist ICON with future opportunities.

Little Dry Creek Update

The City of Cherry Hills Village and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District collaborated on this maintenance project to address bank erosion through Woodie Hollow Park.  This master planned reach of Little Dry Creek is located just downstream of a previous bank stabilization project.  Unrestricted flows out of the stabilized channel, combined with high velocity flows from a tributary storm sewer outfall directed hydraulic energy into the unprotected north bank of Little Dry Creek and began undercutting trees.  The resulting meander into the south bank threatened stability of a sanitary sewer manhole and soft surface park trail.

The stabilization solution preserved the meander of the creek, but reinforced the outside bends with buried riprap.  The inside bends were stabilized with soil lifts.  The channel was restored to proposed master plan grades by implementing channel fill and a 18-inch boulder grade control structure at the downstream limit.  A “no rise” floodplain permit was achieved by laying back the northern channel bank to counteract the fill. The channel design also minimized tree removals during construction, and where tree removals were necessary, noxious species were targeted and replaced with native species in locations determined by Cherry Hills Village staff. The trail alignment was lowered adjacent to the soil lifts, reducing the bank height and bringing trail users closer to stream environment and away from private properties.  The City will assist UDFCD in maintaining the soil lifts through the first few seasons by irrigating the seed plugs and vegetation.

Naranjo Civil Constructors and Arrowhead Landscaping built this project per plan, on schedule, and at budget.

ICON Teaches Floodplain “Modeling”

High intensity rain pummels onto a parking lot, flowing overland to cascade into an open channel, then submerging the overbank inundating homes, hotels and trees. Although sadly reminiscent of the major 2013 flood event in Colorado, this storm is accompanied with squeals of laughter as students learn basic floodplain management using ICON’s own Stormwater Floodplain Simulation Model.

Originally purchased in 2009 as part of a silent auction to benefit the ASFPM Foundation, this model has seen a lot of use, albeit at a much reduced scale from real flood events. ICON’s President Penn Gildersleeve explains: “I was at the national ASFPM Conference in Orlando, saw the model being demonstrated and just had to have it.” Developed for education and outreach, the acrylic model clearly demonstrates the critical role of floodplains and how impervious areas can impact runoff and flooding within a watershed. ICON obtained the very first model produced, but since the development of the model in 2009, nearly 200 models have been sold as a fun educational tool. The model features three different “plug and play” headwater trays allowing simulation of wetlands, a detention pond, and a parking lot. Two “rain-maker” trays with different size holes drilled in them allow experimenting with rainfall intensity. Equipped with tiny staff gages, the model allows measurement of depth of flow, which, with the aid of a stop watch leads to comparative hydrographs. Gildersleeve says, “We have been a little creative with the model, using it to demonstrate erosion using a scoop of sand, we have used clay to demonstrate levees, and even have constructed our own miniature full spectrum water quality control outlet for the detention pond.”

Water festivals seem to be all the current rage, and just in the past month, ICON’s model has been used at the Poudre River Fest; the Fort Collins Children’s Water Festival; and the Aurora Public School’s annual Youth Water Festival.

Equally at home outside or in a classroom, the floodplain model has been used primarily for young students, however, ICON staff have also used it to demonstrate critical issues in front of City Councils. Troy asks the question, “Why is it that the mayor always wants to be the one that gets to pour the water??”

Our model setup at the Poudre River Fest.

Troy Carmann makes it rain at the Aurora Youth Water Festival.

Jeremy Deischer explains the different flood zones while Shane Boyle from the City of Fort Collins assists.

How’s This for Outreach?

In the month of May, ICON Engineers Penn Gildersleeve, Craig Jacobson, Troy Carmann, and Jeremy Deischer demonstrated the Floodplain Model at water festivals to future floodplain managers. These featuring some 1800 3rd Graders , 1600 5th Graders, along with dozens of interested families!

Do You Have an Upcoming Outreach Opportunity?

ICON’s model is available to any Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers (CASFM) member organization. Give us a call and explain your needs and we will see if the model is available to meet your schedule.
Call ICON Engineering, Inc. at 303 221-0802 or email Penn Gildersleeve at pgildersleeve@iconeng.com
These models are also available through Ward’s Natural Science Item #805770 for the current cost of $1,435/each.

Discovery of 64 Million Year Old Fossils

ICON’s Associate Principal Troy Carmann and family make a 64 million year old discovery… fossils in their sandbox! While digging a sand box in their back yard, Troy Carmann and sons found 64 million year old fossils.

When Grant pointed out the fossils, Troy at first didn’t believe what was so obvious to his young son. “I just thought, yeah fossils, it was so hot and the ground was getting so hard to dig, I went ahead and got the electric jack hammer out.” Troy has seen many excavations as a result of his design work in drainage and flood control, but never thought that his own backyard could literally contain a treasure trove of the earth’s history.

Luckily, another ICON engineer, Aaron Bousselot and his wife Jen showed up with beer and the sand box excavation slowed down. Jen has a PhD in Horticulture and formerly served as the Douglas County extenion agent. Jen knows her plants! She and Aaron quickly recognized that the bedrock Troy was trying to blast through just might contain something significant.

At Aaron’s and Jen’s urging, Troy brought a small sampling of the fossils into ICON’s office to show off the hard work from his backyard. Troy knew that the person that would be the most interested would be ICON’s President, Penn Gildersleeve. According to Troy, he figured that Penn is the closest thing ICON has to being an actual fossil himself! In reality, Penn is somewhat of an amateur paleontologist. When he was much younger, he worked several summers on excavations in both archaeology and paleontology through a museum associated with Idaho State University. He is currently taking certification classes in Paleontology from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS).

The next day, Penn took the sampling of fossils to the DMNS for further identification. Penn had been studying the geology and ancient land forms of the Castle Rock area in a class he was taking being taught by Bob Raynolds, PhD, research associate with the DMNS Earth Sciences Department. Dr. Raynolds showed the fossils to his associates at the museum, and the importance of what Troy had found was quickly recognized. We were all astounded by the results.

Troy’s backyard find was attributed to the ancient Castle Rock Rain Forest which thrived in the Denver basin right after an asteroid strike near Cancun, Mexico some 64.1 million years ago. It is believed that this asteroid collision likely resulted in, or at least contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
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